In the latest report of Financial Action Task Force's (FATF), the anti-terror financing watchdog has found serious deficiencies in Pakistan's measures and frameworks to curb money laundering for the global menace. Because of these deficiencies, the danger for Pakistan of remaining in FATF's grey-list is not yet over.
In its mutual evaluation report (MER) released a few weeks ago, Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Paris-based watchdog, said that Pakistan may remain on the FATF grey list for a protracted period, as it may be handed over another action plan for implementation for one to three years more, Pakistan's Express Tribune reported after quoting Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Thursday.
"As a result of the MER carried out by the Asia Pacific Group, Pakistan was under observation till October 2020," the minister stressed. "If we do not fully implement the APG's recommendations by October next year, a new action plan of one to three years can be given to Pakistan," the minister said in his opening remarks to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue that met under the chair of former Finance Minister Asad Umar.
In February 2018, the FATF had decided to place Pakistan on the grey list with effect from June 2018. Pakistan had been given a 27-point ambitious action plan that required it to completely choke terror financing and money laundering, dismantle terrorists' sanctuaries and make banking and non-banking financial regulations more stringent. The APG's MER was separate from the FATF's 27-point plan, which will keep the sword hanging on the country for at least next two to three years.
The FATF plenary met last month and gave Pakistan four more months to completely implement the 27-point Action Plan. "Pakistan needs to do more and it needs to do it faster. Pakistan's failure to fulfil FATF's global standards is an issue that we take very seriously," FATF President Xiangmin Liu said while addressing a news conference in Paris last month. The FATF Plenary will once again review Pakistan's case in February next year.
If Pakistan repeats its current performance then there is every possibility that it could be blacklisted. Being on the blacklist means the country would find it almost impossible to get funding cooperation from organisations like World Banks and IMF. Warning Pakistan, the FATF said that lack of “significant and sustainable progress” will force them to “take action, which could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their FIs to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan”. It means that cash strapped country will face a tough time.
(With ANI inputs)